Hey there Teacups! I’m back today with a new Stateside Steeps post and this time around I’m going to be reviewing Master’s Teas – Tai Ping Hou Kui. If you read my blog throughout most of 2020 you’ll know that Masters Teas featured quite frequently on my blog and that each time I tried one of their teas I loved them. I’m still yet to find a tea from them that I haven’t enjoyed and I’ve actually been introduced to quite a few new teas by this company as well, which has in turn lead to me finding some new firm favourites and building some tea memories that will definitely stay with me for a long time. I had meant to review this tea at the end of 2020 but as Christmas came around nothing but Christmas teas and Christmas content was featured so I’m only just managing to get round to the teas I have left from this company.
I’ve been really looking forward to getting back into doing tasting session with more teas from this company, my favourite part about trying new teas from this company was guessing before hand whether or not each new tea is going to be better than the last one I tried. So far I definitely have my favourite from this company, so each time a try a new one I always wonder if it’s going to change my favourites list at all. I also like to make sure I do a little research into the tea (if it is one I haven’t heard of) before hand to make sure I’m going into the tasting session as informed as I possibly could be, so that I am brewing correctly and getting the most well rounded experience.
Here’s what Master’s Teas themselves have to say about this tea on their website: ”Our 2020 Tai Ping Hou Kui is grown at 350 meters above sea level in Huangshan, Anhui. The leaves are from 9 to 12-year-old plants known as the Persimmon Big Leaf species and were harvested in early May. The local name for this tea is Tai Ping Jian Cha (Jian means points, cha means tea). The hand plucked tea goes through a process of pinching the point of the leaves after fixation. The main purpose of this step is rolling and shaping, which is done by hand in order to keep and retain more of the aroma and internal substances.”
“Tai Ping Hou Kui literally means “peaceful monkey leader” and is grown at the foothill of Huangshan in the Anhui province. Its breath-taking elegantly long emerald leaves are hand-pressed, bringing forth a dry aroma of un-roasted chestnuts and light fruitiness. The liquor is light-bodied and delicate with nuances of nut, a touch of sweet grass, lily-of -the valley floral, and a whispery apricot note. The delicate floral and apricot notes linger nicely on the palate. Since the size of the leaves can make it cumbersome to brew this tea in a traditional method, the leaves may need to have the water poured over allowing them to melt down into the brewing vessel.”
Origin: Anhui, China | Farmer: Liang Yu Ming | Elevation: 350m | Infusions: 7
Tea Tasting Notes
For this tasting session I used my 250ml porcelain gaiwan and water that was heated to 85°C. In total I managed to do four hot steeps during this session but I have no doubt that it could have done a few more. I had to cut the session a little short due to a horrible migraine but the leaves didn’t go to waste as I did cold brew them once, which resulted in a really nice few cups of a light yet well rounded, lightly floral, subtly sweet iced green tea.
Steep 1) The first steep was floral, with a light fruitiness (almost like dried apricot), a delicate sweet grass note and underlying nut notes. It has a delightfully soft light mouthfeel and the floral and fruit notes definitely linger after each mouthful. there was definitely some vegetal notes present but definitely much more in the background along with some earthy notes.
Steep 2) Very similar to the first steep, lighter vegetals, more prominent fruit and floral notes, light nut note in the background. Smoother than the first steep. In this steep there was also a light lemon and a hint of pepper which I really wasn’t expecting at all but was a really nice addition to the flavour profile of this tea, even though the flavour profile on a whole is quite light it’s still really enjoyable and a nice break between heavier teas and will be perfect throughout spring. In fact, if I had to pick one word to describe this teas I would say springtime because if springtime had a taste this would most definitely be it.
Steep 3) In this steep the floral lilly like notes were definitely the most prominent, the sweet grass notes were also a bit more prominent with the dried apricot like notes coming through softly. Sadly the lemon and pepper notes from the last steep weren’t as present in this steep, they were noticeable in the aftertaste but they were very light and deffinelty wavering so I didn’t expect them to be present at all in the 4th steep. Looking back I think I could have done with making this steep a little bit longer as I didn’t keep a close eye on the steeping time and I think I ended up cutting this about 10 seconds too short. I imagine that If I had steeped it a little longer the flavour profile would have been a little more well rounded but I’ll definitely make sure I try it out next time I sit down to drink this tea gongfu style. This steep was just as smooth, light and refreshing as the pervious ones though and makes for such a relaxing tea to drink.
4) This steep I made sure I paid more attention to and it definitely paid off, again because this tea is quite light naturally the flavour profile wasn’t super strong, but this steep was much more well rounded than the third steep with the sweet grass notes, dried apricot, subtle nuttiness and fantastic florals shining through. I really enjoyed this last steep even though the lemon and pepper notes I noticed previously were no longer present but I do think that’s because the other notes were stronger than they were previously which I do think may have stopped them from being able to come through as they were so subtle. However, I think this was one of my favourite steeps of the whole session and I’m really sad I had to all but stop the session here due to a horrible migraine. But I will definitely return to this tea soon for another tasting session and try and see just how many steeps I can take this tea through.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5
If you want to find out more about Master Teas and purchase some this tea from either the 2020 harvest or the 2019 harvest (the harvest I reviewed today is their 2019 harvest), you can do both here. As always if you have any questions at all either stick them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter/Instagram @teaisawishblog and I’ll answer them all as soon as I can.
Speak to you all again soon Happy Steeping – Kimberley
*The tea featured in this post was gifted to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and have not been paid for*